Monday, November 11, 2013

TO BUILD A HOME: Where Do I Begin?

Graphic Acquired: Proceed to Stage Two

If you're a regular reader here you'll know that in my Great Big Plan to Overhaul Professions, I suggested a phased area with a crafting tower for all your professions needs. Well, Blizzard have gone along these lines with their new Expansion plans for Garrisons; it is what was, for many people, the Holy Grail in game: player housing. It utilises the phasing technology that farms currently use, but that's pretty much where the comparison ends. If what we've heard in the last two days is any indicator, this is a Mini-Game quite like any other you'll have played anywhere else, with elements from professions, battle pets, quests and so much more.

The Offical Blue Post on the US site gives us a basic taster of what we can expect:

'You’ll customize your Garrison’s layout, appearance, and gameplay effects, and attract followers to operate it. The Garrison allows World of Warcraft players to own a larger part of the world than ever before, and opens up a wide variety of interesting gameplay decisions—with as much or as little micromanagement as you wish. Your Garrison exists seamlessly in the world, but you won’t need to go into an instance portal to visit your home base—as you travel through Draenor, you’ll see your Garrison looming on the horizon.'

That means you can move it around, and it will always be available for you to access. There's a lot to do as well, with building to be built and improved, and levels of customisation that directly affect the usefulness of the structures. You'll be starting with four basic buildings:

  • Farm
  • Mine
  • Town Hall
  • Fishing shack

There are also 10 'small' buildings which directly correspond to each of the current primary professions:

  • Alchemy Lab
  • Enchanter's Study
  • Engineering Works
  • Jewelcrafting Gallery
  • Salvage Yard
  • Scribe's Office
  • Smithy
  • Storehouse
  • Tailoring Studio
  • The Tannery

What's not yet clear (from what I've seen at least) is if you can have multiple professions you don't currently possess operating in your garrison: the implication from one of the panels I heard suggests this is the case. Certainly the graphics I've seen show multiple professions buildings simultaneously: mind you, that graphic showed a Dance Studio, so this stuff may well be subject to change :D These buildings can be upgraded by blueprints that drop in the World, and their usage can change. Keep your fingers crossed this won't just mean specialisations for the professions that already have them, let's hope for some new ones too. These buildings can also have followers assigned to them: yes, you will become your very own Garrison Overseer this time around. Followers can be recruited from your own Garrison and (I suspect) will be wandering about in the game world waiting for you to pluck them from obscurity to come do your bidding. As your empire builds, so do your buildings: tiers of improvement, which bring greater rewards and abilities. It's your won mini-phased Empire, and it's going to be available for other people to come and visit.

Having learnt the biggest lesson from the Tillers Farm, this won't be summat you work on and only you can see. Friends can come too. You can all be Property Magnates together :D

Three levels of Barracks, we think. This is Human Alliance :D

I'd really hope these buildings will be race and faction specific, as Blizzard have the resources at their disposal to make that happen, and that should encourage people to have Garrisons for every race they play (BUILD MOAR STUFF DAMMIT) It's not just buildings however, you will have your mini-workforce at your disposal, and when they're not making stuff at the Garrison you can send them out on Missions. These are twofold: they provide you with raw materials to continue to improve your surroundings, but they might result in rewards for you, too. As you move from 90 to 100 your followers also gain levels, so you won't have to wait until you max level to start playing this 'game': one of the biggest criticisms I had of the Farms was they shut off after the initial round of quests to open them. Not so here, as you level, so does your population. Those missions also mirror the difficulty of content you encounter: quests, scenarios, instances and raids, with varying numbers of followers required and different timescales/rewards when they complete them.

In good news for Pet Lovers, you'll have a Pet Stable option. There's a Trading Post (AH & Bank access perhaps?) plus an Infirmary (which suggests followers could be injured whilst on missions and will need to be healed.) There's a Stable too (this is where Hunters get excited and maybe we get to choose our favourite pets to play outside) and an Inn where you will recruit further followers... Needless to say, like the Tillers farm, this is one feature we really need to get our hands on in Beta as a matter of urgency. The potential sounds fairly limitless, and the possibilities... well, I've played a few God Sims in my time, and in essence that's what this is, with elements of the Star Wars: The Old republic crafting interface thrown in for good measure.

Needless to say, this is going to be a mini-game that's going to make everyone forget their farms. It may also make them forget a lot more besides...


Jonathan said...

"plus an Infirmity"

Garrisons will give us a limp? :-)

There's much to like about the Garrison idea, it's one of those things that you read about and want to try out straightaway.

The Godmother said...

Yes, if you have a limp you can go to the Infirmary now :D

dobablo said...

Still think it would be better as a guild village, but Blizzard seem to have move to the "Guilds are their own reward" model.

As long as I get a booterang I'll be happy.

James Flinders said...

Garrisons are the thing I'm most looking forward to in WoD.

and I'm going to have 11 of the buggers lol (assuming all my characters make it to 100)

Crow said...

I'm working on getting an idea from the UI about how many profession shacks you can set up per garrison, but so far it looks like you'll have only 4 small plots at Tier 3. All of the primary non-gathering professions appear to be small-plot buildings, while gathering professions and secondary professions seem linked with medium and large buildings (except the Fishing Shack, which only shows up in one slide as a starting building but doesn't show up anywhere else).

I'll keep going over the mockups, but if that's the case, it sounds like you'll be able to cover up to four primary non-gathering professions and probably all of the gathering and secondary professions. But considering the number of discrepancies between what Stockton says, and discrepancies between different slides, I expect there's going to be a lot of fine-tuning to do on how this system will play out.